Feeds

Greenland's super-melty summer

Ice is sooo last season

High performance access to file storage

The higher peaks of the Greenland icesheet spent longer melting this summer than any summer since 1988, according to a NASA funded study. The research revealed that enough snow melted in Greenland this year to cover the surface of the USA more than two times over*.

Image of the so-called 2007 Greenland melting anomaly. Credit: NASA

Image of the so-called 2007 Greenland melting anomaly.

Credit: NASA

This so-called melting anomaly is calculated using microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imaging radiometer. It refers to the difference between the number of melting days occuring in 2007 and the average number of melting days during the period 1988 to 2006.

Oddly, the increased melting was predominantly concentrated in higher altitude regions.

"When snow melts at those high altitudes and then refreezes, it can absorb up to four times more energy than fresh, unthawed snow," said Marco Tedesco, a research scientists at the Joint Centre for Earth Systems Technology.

"This can affect Earth's energy budget by changing how much radiation from the sun is absorbed by the Earth versus that reflected back into the atmosphere. Refrozen snow can also alter the snow density, thickness and snow-water content."

Tedesco said the results came as something of a surprise, and demonstrated just how complex the environmental systems of our planet are.

Overall, the time spent melting in Greenland this year was up 30 per cent on the average for the last two decades. This isn't a record peak, but could be indicative of a trend towards longer periods of melting in the region.

Tedesco noted: "Aside from contributing to direct sea level rise, melting especially along the coast can speed up glaciers since the meltwater acts like a lubricant between the frozen surface and the bedrock deep below. The faster glaciers flow, the more water enters the ocean and potentially impacts sea level rise." ®

Click here for a larger version of the picture, with appropriate scale.

*What this is in sheepsecs/multiples of Wales is left as an exercise for the reader.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.